Meet our Coaches

Capital Thunder has one of the most experienced coaching staffs in Northern California and has developed numerous players to continue the passion of hockey past the youth levels.

Our coaches believe that family is the center of every great hockey program. Hockey is about families coming together every week to support the children and their community.

Passion Commitment Ingegrity

2022 - 2023 coaches

Jon Hitesman

High School/16U - Head Coach

Coach Hitesman grew up playing hockey in Minnesota. After high school, he went on to play NCAA DIII hockey at Norwich University in Vermont. While on active duty with the Marine Corps, Coach Hitesman played on several representational teams in Japan and Germany.  He has been coaching for 14 years and has coached at every level and age group from squirts to Juniors. He has also been a board member and advisor to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Hockey and the Northstar Christian Academy in Alexandria, Minnesota.

Cory Lange

High School/16U - Asst. Coach

Coach Cory has been coaching for seven years and has been with the Thunder for three. He has spent a lot of time playing pond hockey and outside of coaching he spends time with his family camping, skiing, hiking and swimming. Coach Cory also loves to decorate for Halloween and Christmas!

Paul Gauthier

High School/16U - Asst. Coach

Coach Paul learned to play hockey in Montreal, Canada starting at the age of 5. This will be his fifth-year coaching and his second with the Capitol Thunder. He is a USA Hockey Level 3 certified coach and has coached at all youth levels. Outside of hockey, coach Paul enjoys watching his son and daughter play travel and High School Lacrosse.

Tim Polasik

High School/16U - Asst. Coach

Cory Lange Jr.

High School/16U - Asst. Coach

Scott Folena

14U A - Bantam - Head Coach

Rusty Krouse

14U A - Bantam - Asst. Coach

Coach Rusty has been with the Thunder for three seasons now, as both parent and coach. He played both ice and roller hockey from around age 10 through high school. He currently plays two nights a week in the local house league, at Skatetown, as well as coaches multiple youth, adult Learn To Play, and adult skills programs outside of CTYH. He is a self-proclaimed craft beer enthusiast (alright, maybe just a beer enthusiast), who enjoys woodworking as a hobby, watching his daughter’s travel soccer club and high school teams play, and enjoying ice time with his wife, who is learning to play ice hockey!

Jason Davis

14U A - Bantam - Asst. Coach

Joe LaPenna

14U B - Bantam - Head Coach

Coach Joe has been playing hockey for over 30 years. His love of the game and being part of a team carried him through playing as a youth on the Capital Flames and as an adult on various men's leagues including the Fairfield Fire and Sacramento Fire teams. Joe has years of experience working with teens ages 11-14 as the coordinator for Roseville Fire Kids Camp. He has enjoyed sharing his love of the sport with his son, watching him learn, and spending time together on the ice. Outside of hockey, he loves spending time with his family, playing paintball, scuba diving, and avoiding yard-work!

Scott Riddle

14U B - Bantam - Asst. Coach

Coach Riddle learned to play hockey in Toronto, Canada and has played at various competitive levels his entire life. Coach Riddle has coached in-house for several years as well as the last three seasons with the Thunder. He is a USA Hockey level 2 certified coach and will be certified as a level 3 this season.

chris Hughes

Goalie Coach/14U B - Bantam - Asst. Coach

Coach Hughes has been playing and coaching ice hockey for over 30 years. He is originally from Florida, where in high school he was selected from all goaltenders in the state to represent "Team Florida." He eventually moved to Connecticut to play for Sacred Heart University. For the last 10+ years Coach Hughes has been coaching for the Capital Thunder and Skatetown in-house programs. Coach Hughes is a USA Hockey level 4 certified coach.

Matt Strinden

12U - Peewee Team 1 - Head Coach

Coach Strinden grew up skating and playing hockey in North Dakota and has been involved with the sport in some fashion for over 40 years. Coach Strinden played youth and high school hockey in Grand Forks, ND and then began his coaching career in 1995. He is a USA Hockey Level 5 certified coach and has coached at various levels including youth, high school boys and girls varsity, North Dakota State Development camps & Tier 1 Girls, Northern Plains District Camps, and USA Hockey National Camps. Strinden has coached both Squirt and Peewee levels with the Capital Thunder since moving to Northern California in 2018 and has enjoyed being a part of the club. Away from the rink, he enjoys the outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

Rob Lapsley

12U - Peewee Team 1 - Asst. Coach

Dustin Ruffell

12U - Peewee Team 1 - Asst. Coach

Mike Hamilton

12U - Peewee Team 1 - Asst. Coach

Todd Bowman

12U - Peewee Team 2 - Head Coach

Coach Bowman grew up in the Bay Area playing roller hockey and ice hockey. He played ice hockey at UC Davis and led the team as its Captain. Coach Bowman returns to Thunder coaching this year having served as the14UB team Assistant Coach last year. He also continues to play in the Skatetown adult leagues.

Bobby Nowack

12U - Peewee Team 2 - Asst. Coach

Coach Nowack is no stranger to hockey. He has played hockey since he was 8 and started playing travel hockey at age 11.  Coach Nowack has been coaching in-house league Squirt/Peewee for five years, and has coached at the high school level as well. Coach Nowack also continues to play in the Skatetown adult leagues.

Kevin Prior

12U - Peewee Team 2 - Asst. Coach

Coach Prior grew up playing travel hockey for the Santa Clara Blackhawks at the A and AA level. He went on to play Junior B for the Las Vegas Blackjacks and the Ventura Mariners as well as being part of the undefeated National Championship team from San Jose State University. Coach Prior has been coaching in-house league and plays in the Skatetown adult leagues.

Heath Hodel

10U- Squirt - Head Coach

Bruce Barragan

10U - Squirt - Asst. Coach

8U MitesPlus Program - Head Coach

Coach Bruce started playing hockey in norther California 50 years ago and has been coaching in northern California for 40 years. He knew he wanted to coach when he was a bantam and never looked back. This is his 19th year with the Capital Thunder, having coached at all levels. He’s a great outdoorsman as he enjoys backpacking and camping, but also loves to golf! He loves spending time with his family and is ready to be a grandpa!

Ben Rogers

10U - Squirt - Asst. Coach

Sean Bernstein

8U - MitesPlus - Asst. Coach

Joe Shields

8U - MitesPlus - Asst. Coach